Sardine

The beauty of Lesvos

Sardines are small, saltwater, silvery fishes named after Sardinia, the Italian island. They are oily-rich and soft-boned, and while in Greece they are largely enjoyed fresh, panned with olive oil, in other parts of the world they are most commonly found canned, since they are so perishable.

sardines3Sardines are rich in numerous nutrients that have been found to support cardiovascular health. They are one of the most concentrated sources of the omega-3 fatty acids which have been found to lower triglycerides and cholesterol levels. One serving of sardines actually contains over 50% of the daily value for these important nutrients.

Moreover, sardines are an excellent source of vitamin B12 which promotes cardiovascular well-being, a rich source of bone-building vitamin D, and a very good source of phosphorus, a mineral that is important to strengthening the bone matrix. Sardines are also rich in protein, which provides us with amino acids.

With growing concern globally, over the health of the seas, people are turning to sardines since they are at the bottom of the aquatic food chain, feeding solely on plankton, and therefore do not concentrate heavy metals, such as mercury, and contaminants as do some other fish.

Sardines date back to time immemorial, but it was the emperor Napoleon Bonaparte who helped to popularize these little fishes by initiating the canning of sardines, the first fish ever to be canned, in order to feed the citizens of the land over which he presided.

Kalloni Sardines are the most famous Greek sardines. They can only be found in the gulf of Kalloni on the island of Lesvos. The process of corning is done in a natural way with the use of salt. It is a great meze to serve with ouzo also produced on the island of Lesvos.

Greeks also enjoy their sardines baked with tomato, garlic and oregano, accompanied by fresh or boiled vegetables.

MLGFB Tip:

How to make spiced sardines (4 portions)

sardines4Ingredients: 600g sardines, scaled, filleted and pinboned, a little extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, leaves picked, 2 cloves of garlic, zest and juice of 1 lemon, 1 chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

Preparation:

  • As soon as you have scaled, filleted, pinboned and butterflied the sardines coat them with the olive oil.
  • Arrange the sardines on a baking tray skin-side down, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the oregano.
  • Put the garlic, chilli, lemon juice and zest and some olive oil into a jam jar and shake mixing everything together. Pour the spicy mixture over the sardines.
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes at 200°C, then take straight to the table and serve.

This is a recipe of famous Greek chef Argyro Barbarigou

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